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888 Boss Speaks on Company Future
Wednesday April 24,2013 : 888.COM CHIEF SPEAKS ON THE COMPANY'S FUTURE
Wide-ranging interview follows an outstanding first quarter report
Following the release of an outstanding first quarter report Tuesday 888 Holdings chief executive Brian Mattingley shared his thoughts on the future with the Reuters news agency, revealing that the company expects to be online with poker in Nevada by the summer, and should start seeing positive effects from a more liberated American online market from 2015.
"In Nevada we are awaiting final sign-off by the gaming control board on our software," he told Reuters, adding that the 888 online poker product should be live in the state by the third quarter.
The 888 poker chief said that moves toward legalised online gambling in a number of states were encouraging:
"I imagine we will start to see some really influential numbers [accrue] to our business from 2015," he said, adding that next year would involve a lot of marketing spend as companies jostle for position in the United States.
The prospect of a more progressive and liberated approach to online gambling in the United States have helped drive a doubling in 888's share price since the middle of 2012, and the company is now worth almost GBP 600 million ($915 million).
Mattingley was also pleased with the strong performance of his company in the online markets in Spain and Italy, which fuelled a nine percent rise in revenues to $103 million in the first three months of the year.
The Italian market had benefitted from a government decision to permit online slot action, and it was hoped that the Spanish government would follow suit, he said.
888 planned to offer online sports betting in both Italy and Spain by the summer with its new platform provider, replacing the Blue Square platform, Mattingley revealed.
The new platform provider, which 888 has thus far declined to identify, "has a different agenda to that of Blue Square," Mattingley said, observing that this would enable his company to "...cover all sports, all products, in a much different spectrum of countries and territories. So for example, in Spain and Italy, we operate without a sportsbook because of the constraints of Blue Square. That would [no longer] be the case.”
Acknowledging that 888's sports betting ambitions did not currently position it in the same league as major UK betting giants, Mattingley noted that the change in platforms would present opportunities for 888 to grow into "a more serious player" - especially in markets where regulation was being led by sports betting activity.
“We see there are market opportunities, and we will take those opportunities, particularly in moving our business into territories where the sports market is the market which actually predominantly rules the online business and poker and casinos are, if you like, reference points off of the main market. So we will definitely be looking at getting into Spain and Italy”, Mattingley confirmed.
The latest quarterly numbers from 888 show that the company's emerging offering, including 888Sport and its social gaming properties, grew by 27 percent due to a strong sports margin (see previous InfoPowa report for full Q1-2013 details).
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